We pulled the top 14 of the best commercial diets (marketed to the public for profit) and the top 12 of the best diets overall. We also threw five of the most popular diet apps into the mix. Since these are largely tracking devices that don’t espouse unique eating habits, they don’t appear to meet US News’ definition of diet, but are still potentially effective weight loss tools.
Consistent with the current study, recent findings indicate that slow weight loss, as recommended by current guidelines, worldwide, is not a priority over rapid weight loss. Purcell et al. in a clinical trial studied the effect of weight loss rate and weight management. Their results showed that in the long-term, with rapid weight loss (450 to 800 Kcal/day) than gradual weight loss (500 kcal less than the daily requirement), the weight loss is faster and more stable. The researchers suggested that the limited carbohydrate intake of very-low-calorie diets might promote greater satiety and less food intake by inducing ketosis. Losing weight quickly may also motivate participants to persist with their diet and achieve better results (29).
“When clients come to me, many of them have been through the diet wringer. They’ve tried every fad and gimmick and, of course, they’ve failed to maintain long-term success. The key to weight loss is to never feel like you’re on a diet, because diets don’t work. If you feel deprived, you will never make it past a few weeks. The only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to learn to appreciate food as fuel and slowly replaced processed food that cannot properly energize the body with real food that can. After a while this will become second nature and won’t feel like a daily struggle.” — Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN
Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, meaning you should consider adding sweet potatoes to your diet. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories.
Whatever you choose for lunch—a salad, sandwich, grain bowl—top it with some avocado (or guac!). The creamy green 'cado offers some serious health perks. In a review published in 2017 in Phytotherapy Research, researchers looked at the effect avocado-eating can have on reducing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. They concluded that eating avocado daily can play a role in reducing blood pressure, lessening diabetes risk, keeping arteries clear and, yes, helping with weight loss. Avocados contain antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamins and fatty acids, as well as other plant compounds that may affect the hunger hormone leptin to help keep you satiated and help curb your appetite to sidestep over-snacking.
“Don’t skip breakfast—it really is the most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking, and then have something healthy to eat every three to four hours after that. When we skip breakfast or wait too long to eat in the morning, our bodies start to conserve energy and our metabolism slows down. Skipping breakfast also leads to overeating throughout the day.” — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
As it turns out, almonds aren’t the only superstar nuts around. Studies have shown pistachios aren’t bad to snack on either. UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers divided study participants into two groups, each of which were fed a nearly identical low-cal diet for three months. One group was given 220-calories of pretzels as an afternoon snack, while the other sect munched on 240-calories worth of pistachios. About a month into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while the pretzel-eaters stayed the same.
When I was in the sixth grade, I first realized that I was heavier than the other girls. I thought, "Oh, I'm going into junior high school—I should try to lose weight so boys will like me, like me." From then on, my mom and I tried pretty much any popular diet from the early 2000s you could think of. She was always encouraging me to lose weight whenever she did. I would usually lose between 30 and 40 pounds on those diets, but I always put it back on—and then some.
It seems counterintuitive to drink lots of water when you’re looking to lose weight fast—especially water weight—but staying hydrated is one of the most important steps you can take to lose weight. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated allows you to be more in touch with the times when you are actually hungry, rather than just thirsty. Plus, a lot of good things happen to your body when you drink enough fluids.
7. Egert S, Baxheinrich A, Lee-Barkey YH, Tschoepe D, Wahrburg U, Stratmann B. Effects of an energy-restricted diet rich in plant-derived alpha-linolenic acid on systemic inflammation and endothelial function in overweight-to-obese patients with metabolic syndrome traits. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(8):1315–22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002001. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
Still, when it comes to losing weight, working a few cups of brewed green tea into your diet isn’t necessarily a bad idea. “Like coffee, green tea may give you a mild boost, and if you don’t add sugar, it has no calories,” notes Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. “So drinking it in place of sugary drinks such as soda can help you cut calories.”
Consequently, researchers have widely discredited the hCG diet, which involves using hCG injections, pellets, sprays, or drops, and consuming as few as 500 calories daily. The diet is problematic not only because there’s a lack of research on hCG supplements, but also because the calorie requirement is dangerously low, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormone imbalances, blood clots, and other issues. Thus, most experts agree the hCG Diet is not safe for anyone, the Mayo Clinic notes. (35)
MyFitnessPal: An app widely recommended by trainers and fitness enthusiasts, MyFitnessPal is great for tracking macros. Goal macros: 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein. It further breaks these general guidelines into specific gram amounts that make it easy to see how some macros add up quick (carbs) and others don’t (protein — hitting 64 grams takes conscious effort!).
Chapter 10 talks all about self love, and I agree it is extremely important to have. I lost a lot of respect though because it starts off saying how people who are overweight have a lack of self esteem and look down on themselves viewing themselves as inferior...um, you spent a portion of this book shaming obese people and making generalizations. You treated obese people differently and shamed them then wonder why they have low self esteem or don't feel like they fit in. This chapter meant a whole lot less to me coming from you after reading the rest of book. In this chapter while talking about self love, you spend the whole time blaming the person for their own low self esteem. Telling them that everyone has flaws (so you just told this person they are flawed, with the assumption you're talking about being overweight as a flaw because that's what the book is about and it's already obvious you look down on obese people based on your language throughout the book.)
Drinking enough water can help you stay slim, too. Research from the American Chemical Society in Boston found that having two 8-ounce glasses of water before a meal while also reducing portion sizes could help you lose weight and keep it off. Not to mention, water fills you up, curbing your appetite: "In addition to slightly boosting your metabolism, drinking water before meals has been shown to help you eat less without trying," says Sass.
Also some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, “people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Seltzer, who supports an alternative strategy: Eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I.-M., … Swain, D. P. (2011, July). Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx
Both Weight Watchers and Noom provide lots of guidance. If you’re more of a self-starter — someone who just needs to be pointed in the right direction — The Mayo Clinic Diet provides pure resources. Picking up the entertaining, densely informative book is the only associated cost. You can also get the app for about half the cost of WW Mobile, but we didn’t find it as useful.